Category Archives: Christian Service

Twelve 2019 A.D. Truths from 1044 B.C.

Every day I become more and more conscience of the scriptures playing out right before my eyes. It’s why I can “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” To the world that makes no sense. How can you rejoice in fear? To me it makes perfect sense. I know what a mess I am, and for certain what a mess this world would be in if I were in control, or any of the other knot heads that think they are. Why would anyone want that!?

Psalm 2 has 12 verses; one for each month of the year. Twelve 2019 A.D. Truths from 1044 B.C.

1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Have you ever seen a time when rage and vanity was as bad as it is now? You can’t turn on the news and not see it. Everyone’s angry because someone has an opinion that differs their own. And they’re not questioning whether their opinion is right, only that they’re entitled to it and nobody else is.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

Not only are they entitled to their theories of morality, they’re also entitled to their people and God’s design doesn’t enter the equation.

Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

We are raising a generation of children who define the rules rather than obey them. They also have a mighty fine example of that in Washington D.C.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

And God laughs. Only it’s not funny. The last thing anyone in this world really wants is to be mocked by God.  Because He alone holds our future in the balance, determining what direction we’re to go. America elected Donald Trump President, who has at least stood on the side of Israel, pro-life and conservative values. I didn’t say he was perfect. But he is our President. However, talk about derision!  Good grief. There’s a reason that word rhymes with division. We are a nation of disrespect for the very thing that has made us stand out among the world’s leaders. Freedom.

Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

Do you think we’re a vexed nation? Vex defined is annoyed or aggravated. America is an angry Nation. Myself included. I have to check my attitude on a pretty regular basis because I want to hurt people. Believe me when I tell you that I’m not always thinking about the soul of an unbeliever. Sometimes I’m thinking about their neck and how I’d like to wring it for stupidity, pride and arrogance.

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

But then I remember Who it is that is in control. And it’s then that I’m in awe that He hasn’t wrung my own neck. My Savior. He Who died as a meek Lamb, but will come again as a roaring Lion!

I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

We tend to put God into the perspective of man.

The God of John 3:16, long before the world knew Him face to face, He was. His plan was laid out before Him, and He stepped into it without regard for Himself, but for the sake of His people. He did so for an example to His children of how to put others before themselves. And there was a time that America did. It’s what made us a melting pot. People would come to our country for opportunity and they were accepted and loved not because of where they were from, but because of where they wanted to come. America! They loved our Nation and wanted to become a part of the dream. Now many have become a nightmare.

We are children of God because He chose to allow us to be. Not because He had to, or that we were deserving of it.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

God has been highly tolerate of a rebellious generation. Our government preaches tolerance, yet they don’t understand the first thing about it. Getting your way isn’t tolerance. And God has been far more tolerant that anyone would have believed in 1950. Immorality has become the norm not because of tolerance but because of apathetic people who rather than stand up for the morals of a godly nation that was fought for, they chose to cower to people who wouldn’t defend them for love nor money. But God’s tolerance will most certain wane.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

As I said before, serving God with fear is easy. Especially when the result of serving man is being lived out on the evening news. I love the fact that I know that I know the Creator of all the universe. That the God Who named the stars, has a new name waiting for me in Glory, There’s a new song that even the angels cannot sing. What a privilege to know Him and commune with Him with just the speaking of His name. There is no disconnect for the child of God and if the kings of this world were wise, they’d be calling on Him to give them instruction. And He will!

If our leaders would call a prayer meeting, good night Irene!!!! I cannot imagine how this nation would turn around. Because I know He has that power is why I rejoice and tremble in His presence. He’s amazing.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

To “Kiss the Son,” is to choose Him above all else. It takes humility and faith. A very small price to pay for the gift of eternal life. For the gift of peace during this life!

Praise God He is in control 365 days and every second of every day! I’ll gladly serve Him and what an honor it is.

How to Deal with Mainstream Mayhem

Many of the conversations I’ve had, both inside my head, and with other people, have recently been around the discussion of end times. It’s a topic not everyone desires to discuss. For me, from the standpoint of myself, I get excited! But then I begin to think of family and friends who aren’t prepared. It’s at this point that those who are not prepared, or those who are uncertain turn me off. And it’s when I begin to worry and stress about how much I’m doing for the cause of the Kingdom. I need to find ways to reach more people. I need to find a way to reach my people! You know… the family who “think” they’re okay, and those who just don’t think about it all, but would rather live in ignorance, not knowing that Jesus could be ready to step out on the cloud at any moment and call His church home.

Are you ready? Do you know that you know? I knew that I knew last year when I had open heart surgery. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can afford that peace. When I see that people don’t have an understanding of the end times, and really don’t care to know, I’m more than a little alarmed. But I guess that’s because I know. So in reading Jude, which by the way reads like a book specifically about 2019, I feel compelled to share the news I discovered about the news!

Jude vs. 16-18

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Wow. How accurate is that?

According to a poll from Axios last year, 72% of 4,000 Americans polled, believe “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposefully misleading.” Other polls say it’s less; but then again, how do we know if even those who do the polls are reporting honestly. It’s just a sad state of affairs that we live in. Jude didn’t need the internet, a poll, or the evening news to tell him what the prognosis was for mankind. He heard it straight from Heaven. He walked with the Creator of all, and his words give an outline of modern times.

How not to Mistake the Fake

Stop watching all mainstream television. There are none that truly don’t have an agenda. I fully believe that. And in so doing, they’ll do they’re very best to persuade you in to believing what they say, even if it’s only in part. And it’s not only the news outlets. You can’t watch a good comedy without an agenda in it! If there’s such a thing as a good comedy. The dark side is found in almost every show I’ve attempted to watch over the past years. Wholesome television is almost nonexistent. And if you think children’s television is any different, think again. I’ve had to ban complete children’s channels off my television with the grandkids because they promote homosexuality, violence, and disrespect. It’s insane! So what’s the answer? Are we going to stop watching entertainment? Probably not, but we need to take Jude’s advice to heart before turning it on.

Never Trust Their Lusts

I’m not just trying to rhyme. It was a fact I learned about myself in our Sunday sermon at Victory Baptist Church. I covet stuff. Shiny stuff. I have a serious issue of wanting things I don’t necessarily need, and much of it comes from all the time I spend on social media. There’s always something shiny and new waiting for me on the web. Just ask Amazon.com. They’ll show you your shiny desires too, because they follow your networking trends. But it’s not always your lusts that are the issue. Their lusts can be come your lusts if it’s entered into your information gatherer enough times. That’s why I can’t watch shows who push the liberal agenda. Because I know their design is to mess with my conservative brain.

Don’t Fluff up the Puffed Up

Meaning: don’t take their efforts lightly. They’ve got it down to a fine art on how to manipulate the American mind. They use people and things that appeal to us. It’s why the celebrities are pushing every product and agenda out there. Because if we love their shows, music and movies, we’ll be easy marks to love their mindsets too. Which if you’re not careful will lead you down a pathway far away from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ll tell you where I stand. I’m a pro-Jesus, pro-life, Baptist conservative that makes no apologies for rolling my eyes at liberal brats who want my children and grandchildren to be corrupted by the notion that they are entitled to a world of shiny things that will take their minds to places God never intended His children to go. I hear it in their voices every time they get upset because life treats them unfairly or a commercial comes on with the latest and greatest and they want it, or a show or song plays that has garbage throughout it and they repeat it. And yet, when I praise God, or bow my head to pray I’m the one viewed as a fanatic.

It’s why Jude makes it clear that if you want the truth there is only one place to find it.

Take a look at the book!

So how do we deal with the Mainstream Mayhem? We measure everything we see and hear by the words of Jesus Christ. It is the only absolute truth in this world.

It’s why I love writing and working for FGGAM.org. Because Pastor Dewey Moede views the world through a biblical lens, and before he publishes it, it has to meet God’s standards. We know we’re accountable for what we say. The Bible is clear on that! We’ll stand before God and give an account of the words we speak and write. We’re not the only ones. That liberal bunch of liars that’s out there, they’ll have their day when they’re mockery comes to an end.

The book of Jude is one chapter from the end of the Book.

I feel like that’s where we are on the time line of eternity. And this chapter is coming to an end quickly…

When Your Value Seems Less

23 For it was the king’s commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.

35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.

Nehemiah 11:23,35

I realize that those two scriptures may or may not mean much to you this morning, but for me as an artist, singer, creative person often less than extraordinaire they meant a great deal.

When I tell people that I struggle. That’s not a lie and it’s not said for pity or pride. It’s just reality. I get up way too often in the morning feeling like a failure and that what I do doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the scope of eternity. So when I read in Nehemiah this morning, as I’ve read at other times (but too often forget), God truly cares about the creative.   That brought such joy to my heart.

While people enjoy music and art; unless you’re an honest to goodness “professional” your value is often viewed as less. It’s a hobby or a past time, not a career because it doesn’t come with a paycheck. And while I have people in my life that more than value me, I don’t value myself enough it seems.

So today I thought I’d post this short thought for those dealing with “feeling less.”

God made the moon the lesser light… and yet how many nights have we sat marveling at it. (Genesis 1:16)

The mustard seed is less than all the seeds on the earth… yet birds find rest and lodge there. (Mark 4:32)

There are parts of the body that we view as less important, and yet, we dare not want to live without them. (1 Corinthians 12:23)

Paul thought of himself less than all the saints (Ephesians 3:8) … but look at the difference he made in eternity.

David, King of Israel was the least of his brothers and not even considered by family in contention for the position, but God had other plans! (1 Samuel 16)

I reminded myself of these scriptures today, in hopes of encouraging my soul that lesser is often as it is, so that God can do the greater and receive the glory He deserves.

You and I are valuable members of the body of Christ. We are irreplaceable by anyone else.

He cared so much about me this happy Thursday morning that He showed me in His word and through friends how much the God of all creation, cares about the creative.

Glorraaaaay!

Chief Reasons Everybody Works

C.R.E.W. ~ Chief Reasons Everybody Works!

From the Book of Nehemiah Chapter 3

The book of Nehemiah is such a great book for the child of God that desires to make a difference in the Kingdom, as every child of God should. It’s a prime example of someone living in a fallen world and fighting back to take care of his own. That was Nehemiah.

He was the king’s cupbearer. A man trusted and fearless enough to make sure no one was going to poison the king. He, for certain, was somebody, and yet he was under the authority of a world ruler. Not a spiritual leader. But his burden and passion for his people is what got him into a position that they, nor the world could deny him opportunity to rebuild what had been broken down.

That’s how I look at our community. It’s falling apart. Our city is unkempt, our communities are filled with broken homes and broken lives, our churches have breaches that should not be, and all the while, God’s people stand by watching it happen, and in need of leaders that will rise up and start the rebuilding.

We’re God’s crew. And using that acronym we’ll discover “Chief Reasons Everyone Works.”

That’s how we’ll have success in the little kingdom we call home in the hills of West Virginia.

In the journal art for today’s blog I pulled words from the entire chapter of Nehemiah 3. It’s one of those chapters that can cause you to zone out if you’re not careful. It’s filled with names, roles, titles and jobs. We can read scripture like that and miss the little things that are the big things. Like beginning in verse of chapter 3 it says that “Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brethren the priests and they builded the sheep gate.”

It’s Our Church

And they were church leaders, willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where needed. And their place was the sheep gate. That’s the role of our church leaders too; they’re responsible for the sheep. Under Nehemiah’s leadership he rallied the troops to begin to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and a portion of that wall was where the sheep were lead through the sheep gate and into the temple.

What was once a sacrificial offering is now how God reference’s His children. Church leadership is not only responsible for leading the sheep into the church, but once they’re in, they’re responsible for making sure they’re safe.

How do we do that? How do we insure that our people are sheltered from harm?

STUDY THE WORD

  1. 2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

SHARE THE WORD

  • Romans 15:1-5 ~ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

As members of the body of Christ, it’s our job to help grow the church. While it’s a different day than in the days of Nehemiah, membership is still by the blood. (The blood of Jesus) And while they were the tribes of Israel, we are the congregation of God.

Just as they had gone astray from the way they should have been living, which is what created the position they’d found themselves in, with not only a broken city, but a broken relationship with God; we too can identify with that analogy. From the age of accountability, when we understood right from wrong, we had a broken relationship with God. Church leadership, and us, need to be repairing the gate where the sheep come into the fold. We need to make the door of the church beautiful. And we do that by allowing them to see the beauty of God, right from the beginning.

It’s Our Community

Hassenaah sons were in charge of the fish gate. Then there were other’s under them. It doesn’t say they were fishermen. Just men, willing to work.

Jesus told Peter (who was a fisherman) in Matthew 4:19 ~ And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

_____________________  

It’s important that we understand the references and parables that Christ shares with us in His words. Fishing was an important part of the communities along the sea. It was their livelihood. Well, it’s the livelihood of the church too! If we’re not out fishing and building our church, it will eventually fade away.

What fish do you have on the hook to build your church? Write them down, commit them to prayer and think on them as serious as Hassenaah and his friends took the building of the fish gate.

It’s Our Children

The work crews on the wall were every bit as diverse as the crews in our church. Everyone, regardless of their life roles, had an important role in the church.

Nehemiah 3:12 ~ And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.

Commentary says of the “daughters” that they were possibly rich widows or heiresses who employed men to build at their own expense.  Halohesh must not have  had sons. This would have been the culture of the day, and while we have certain roles in the church as men, women and children, the point is, we all have a role and a responsibility to set the example for others. Especially the young. Children need to have a voice and role in the church so that as they grow in the Lord and become adults, they continue on serving. If they’re never allowed to serve when they’re young, how will they know that they can as they age?

What are jobs can they do:

Toddlers?_________________________________

Elementary?_______________________________

Pre-Teen?________________________________

Teen?____________________________________

College?__________________________________

Everyone who desires to serve needs a job. When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, he was but a child, yet he served. Again, we know the culture was different, but the message is still the same. We need to point children into the direction of service as young as possible.

What’s your earliest remembrance of service?

Psalm 127:3

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

It’s Our Responsibility

What if Nehemiah had stayed with the King? What if the community had stayed at home? What if nobody did anything? Well it’s unfortunate that many churches are facing that dilemma today. We have to accept the responsibility we’ve been given, and everyone has been given something to do.

What is your part of the wall?

  • The sheep gate?
  • The Fish gate?
  • Cleaning Crew?
  • Guarding the wall?
  • Providing materials?
  • Entertaining the troops?

So many more! We have to show up! It’s our responsibility!

3 Things You Need Approved

Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work.

Nehemiah 2:18

Get God’s Hand of Approval

Nehemiah encouraged and excited God’s people when he informed them that the hand of God was upon him. He only knew that because he’d been in prayer from the beginning. When Nehemiah heard the condition of the wall and the people of Jerusalem his heart was broken. He took the news to the only One who could change the forecast which was the Lord, Jehovah. Our provider.

Bad news comes in many forms today. It may be a wall that’s falling down, but usually it’s a life that’s falling apart. For the church it’s a world that’s falling apart around us. I don’t know how you feel, but I feel much like Nehemiah. I’m distressed at the condition of the souls I meet.

As Gloria and I traveled down a street in Virginia Beach last week, we happed upon a little lady crouched on the curb. Gloria felt compelled to stop and help her out and tell her about Jesus. We approached her, and it was apparent she was skeptical as to why. I ask her if she knew Jesus. She said she was a part of a certain denomination. For me that’s a bell ringer that she knows church. Not Jesus. We attempted to speak to her about the condition of her soul but she wanted no part of it. We just happened to be beside a Chick-fil-A, and I just happened to have a Chick-fil-A gift card in my wallet. (Nothing really just happens). So we gave her the card and wished her God speed.

I don’t think we fixed any walls, but I don’t know. Perhaps the act of kindness will restore her faith in humanity. Or not. Only God knows. What it did was cause me to be more aware of the curb side people in my community.  We need to take care of our own.

That’s what I hear God saying to me this morning. And I need to do that through my ministry (The Jesus Chick) which is my responsibility. But I also need to do that work through my own church. The local church for which every believer needs to be a part of. To do that I need to

Get Church Leadership’s Word of Approval

When Nehemiah prayed for God’s wisdom on what to do about the decaying state of their city and community, He received God’s words of wisdom. But Nehemiah was a servant, the cup bearer, of King Artaxerxes. So rather than just taking God’s word and running with it, he prayed again and sought the Kings approval for the journey.

I’m a doer. Sometimes to a fault. I’ve on more than one occasion ran ahead of church leadership on projects because I wanted to get it done. And it seldom ended well. There’s an order in life. And I have learned to stand my ground in my place, and allow others that same privilege and respect. Its how the church works best, and the world needs to see the church working in harmony. The only way that can happen is if we respect authority. Nehemiah did it even though it wasn’t the church it was a worldly authority, surely we can allow God’s people to guide.

It’s through that process that we can

Get the Stamp of Approval

“A job worth doing, is worth doing right” is often said, and it’s certainly truth.

Philippians 1:6 ~ Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The Jews rose up for a good work because of Nehemiah’s leadership. We need that today! We need the congregations of God to rise up and do a good work that we can be proud of for the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to start by rebuilding the walls in our communities. And by walls I mean spiritually building a fortress around the people through prayer and communication. We need to take back our schools from out of the hands of influences of evil. It’s there. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. We need to be on the streets and roads of our community speaking to those we see about Jesus. We may not have a Chick-Fil-A near by but I can almost guarantee we have some casserole dishes in our cupboard that we can fill with some homemade goodness for someone.

It’s a start. We need it. I need it. You need it. Let’s do it.

Beach Combers

Beach Combers

I’ve watched them with their metal detectors; searching the sand in hopes of unearthing treasure. It’s how I read the word of God. Sifting a verse, just a few words, in hopes if discovering something that will sparkle in my soul.

A treasure to be desired…

Matthew 6:21 says For where your treasure is, there will heart be also.

Proverbs 4:23 says Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I have plenty of issues… believe me!

I search the scriptures for wisdom and I’m not always wise with what I find. Sometimes I’m like a beach comber, except when I find gold, I cast it aside and pick up a seashell. Enamored more by its beauty than the value of the gold. I warned you I had issues. I know it doesn’t have any value, but it’s pretty.

Matthew 6:20 says of treasure that we should lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven… I need to desire eternal rewards by focusing on the spiritual not the carnal. It’s not easy for me, this world is like a giant candy store and my carnal state is alive and well. I love all things shiny and tasty. I could say it’s how God created me, but I don’t think so. He created me with a desire to serve and a heart of compassion. But I choose to let the bling of this world blind me.

A verse that caught my attention this morning and pierced my heart was Proverbs 21:16

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

It’s those who are not seeking at all. They’re just wandering around on the beach. Oblivious to eternity. They stay in dead churches because the Pastor’s preach pretty sermons without substance. Not gold. Just seashells.

Don’t get me wrong. God’s creation is to be marveled. But we’re to worship the Creator in spirit and truth. Those seashells are going by the wayside when this earth is destroyed by fire. But not the things that we’re laying up in Heaven. Today we should be combing the beach for souls that need saving. We should be encouraging ourselves with His word and looking for an opportunity to share what we’ve found.

I know I’m anointed, but deed… some days I don’t think I even uncap the bottle of oil God gives me.

A Just Weight and Balance

His Scale

Proverbs 11:1 says “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.

The world’s standards have skewed our idea of the scale. We do not weigh justly because we measure and weigh by a worldly standard. I have to wonder, when it comes to weighing the worth of what I’ve done on this earth, how much will even make it in the bag? and how much value will it have?

I want to speak of the worlds ideas and values, but I will not stand accountable for theirs; only mine. What has made it into my bag? If I weigh myself by comparison to many others of this world, I look good! Hey, I’m the Jesus Chick. I’m in church. I’m serving the Lord in multiple ares of life. But the very fact that I’ve attached the Lord’s name to my title should scare me to death! I will certainly stand before the Lord and answer for what I’m doing with it.

Its my greatest fear that much of what I view as valuable is being weighed by a false balance. A world view.

God wants it all weighed by His scale, which for us is the word of God. The only true way of weighing earthly value for heavenly reward.

His Satisfying

Will have I’ve done satisfy His intent for the purpose of this earthly vessel? After all, He created me for

His Service

I can tell you with an honest and ashamed heart that much of what I do is for the service of Shari. It makes me feel good. Not that God won’t appreciate part of it, but He would assuredly appreciate it greater if my heart had been purer, my mind gone deeper into His word and if my service had been bolder, quicker, sharper; making more of an impact and mark.

I need to be filling my bag with weightier matter…

The Struggle with Social Media

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Psalm 119:113-114

The Struggle with Vanity

By human nature we are a selfish lot, are we not? I tuned into social media this morning and the heartaches of other people overwhelmed my soul. I felt helpless.

I can’t rebuild a life that was lost in a fire.

I can’t undo the bad decision of a young man that didn’t feel there was any other way than death.

I can’t control the fierceness of nature or the devastation it can leave in its path.

I can’t un-break a heart or protect people from destruction.

It’s life. And in this day and age it’s being lived out in a very, very public way that affects so many people with the stroke of a keyboard. Social media can be a blessing or a scourge. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as I’m sure most people do. But like it or not, despise it or not, it’s here to stay. But you and I need to be careful about the vanity of it all. If we are in the mindset of Christ… as we should be. We should shield ourselves from ourselves.

One of my many, many faults is counting. Now I know it got David in serious trouble in 2nd Samuel 24. So I try not to; but remember the struggle I spoke of. It really is a struggle on social media. How many people likes my post… how many people viewed my video… how many people liked a post, or loved a post. And who were they? Oh. I’m vain. For me it’s validation as to whether or not I was a success.

That a load of lies from Satan. But I buy it like a good flea market find.

Our lives will never be defined in eternity by how many people seen our posts. But it will be defined by what that post did for the cause of the Kingdom.

The Shield of Victory

For all my vain thoughts, and they are many; God put a heart of compassion within me. It’s what drives me to share the hope of Jesus Christ that I find in His word. It’s what creates images like the umbrella in my mind when I think of how many times the Lord has shielded me from the sun and rain. The good times and the bad times that would have had a negative result in my life.

It’s not only the bad times in our lives that cause damage. The good in life can bring more vanity, more self-reliance that can destroy the good things that God wants for us.

How many people do we know with great wealth and health that have no relationship with God? Or how many do we know that have “seemingly” never struggled as we have and are so ungrateful.

Some of the worst things in my life, I am certain, have protected me from forgetting where my hope lies.

I’m so thankful that we have God’s word! It is as if I’m sitting here in my office this morning with God, and I hear Him say… “That’s my girl. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Keep serving. And by the way, stop counting.”

The BRANCH


“The BRANCH” is a Bible Lesson that I composed for the teens at Victory Baptist Church. There are questions within the lesson that, although it was written for teens, I consider them young adults and treat them as such. Feel free to read and enjoy or use it for your ministry if you so desire.

Spring branches are a visible reminder of the new life we celebrated on Easter Sunday. The same God that the Jews longed to meet in the Old Testament, but refused to submit to in the New Testament was the BRANCH. Listed in scripture in all capital letters, which for me is like God shouting His name! It makes me want to know more about why it was listed that way, and what information God wants me to know.

Zechariah 6:12

12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:

The BRANCH is what caught my attention, but the context of the scripture begins in verse 9:

And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah; 11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; 12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord:

Joshua. A name we’re very familiar with, and a named that is translated from Hebrew Joshua to the English, Jesus. Joshua is also the common alternative form of Yeshua.

So Zechariah is being told by God to tell Joshua the Priest that he is a figure of the one to come. Jesus, the Messiah, now being referred to as “The BRANCH.” And just like the branches of this season come to life, The BRANCH was going to be born (come to life) in Bethlehem, but raised in Nazareth. And just like the spring branches that we have in view now, Jesus was going to spring forth, full of life and glory for God.

There are two roles of Christ that we’re going to talk about by unpacking the scripture references in Zechariah and those two roles are Priest and King.

We too are referred to as priests and kings in Revelation 1:5-6

Revelation 1:5-6

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

So how does it make you feel to know you are considered a priest or king?

Is that a position you’re comfortable with now, or is it something that you think you’re going to grow into? At what age, or state of mind do you suppose you’ll arrive there?

Jesus grew up just like kids of today. He may not have had an iPhone, but He had family, friends, siblings, and all the common things of that day, and things that we’re used to having as a family unit.

When you think of growing up in biblical times, what do you think the cultural differences and likenesses of that day were in comparison to ours?

What would teens have done for fun?

What would church services have been like for teens?

The scripture says that Jesus was going to grow up out of that place, the place called Nazareth. That was His place. Nazareth or Netzer, means “The branch from a multitude of plants that grew there.” Another branch in our story

Our place is where we live now. Far from a kingdom view. But so was Nazareth during that day. It was said to be an “insignificant village.” Even the religious of the day said “can anything good come out of Nazareth?”

Have you ever had that feeling about our small town?

While Nazareth wasn’t a big city of that day, it’s now the largest Arab city in the country of Israel. And clearly something Amazing did come from the Nazareth. So why can’t God do something amazing here?

Pastor John Powell of Wadsworth, Ohio was born and raised in Calhoun County, West Virginia. But like many of his era who were born in the 30’s, he left our area to find work. But before that he had a back story. He had a Nazareth village.

When he was just a few months old he got pneumonia and his mother had no money to buy medicine, so she went to her father to borrow it. But instead she had to give John to him at the age of 5 in exchange for the medicine. He was used for child labor and treated very poorly. But even in that state he rose above others as an athlete and in popularity. God called him into the ministry while in Akron, Ohio and it was there that he graduated Bible College and became a man of great means through investments. But the most important thing to know about John Powell was that he reached thousands for Christ and was known for his generosity and kindness all over the world.

The man from Calhoun County.

Jesus grew up in Nazareth and didn’t travel very far in the lifetime of His ministry. One study said about 90-120 miles. In this day and age, that’s not many. But we have to consider His travels were by foot. But look at the impact He made in those 100 miles.

What’s the furthest you’ve traveled, and where do you desire to go?

Jesus’ time on earth was spent preaching the Kingdom, and building a temple not made of hands. What temple has Jesus built?

When Jesus prophesied of His resurrection He said in three days I’ll rebuild the temple, which made the religious of the day angry because they thought He spoke of a building. Which was not so.

We too are considered a temple, how?

There are three ways to build the temple we’re in charge of building

  1. We listen (preaching and teaching)
  2. We learn – (Study to show ourselves approved)
  3. We live (Sharing the word of God)

That is how we build the temple, ours and the body of Christ.

It’s the same thing that Christ did as a young person. When Christ disappeared from His parents and was found three days later it says in Luke 2:46

And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of doctors, both hearing them, and asking questions.

That’s how we grow in the Lord, we ask questions. If we want to grow and feel worthy of our royal positions of priests and kings, we need to do what Jesus did.

If a child never ate physically they would die. They’d also die of boredom if they ate the same thing over and over again. The same is true of our spiritual lives.

Eat. Work! Because as we grow we also need to build.

The new temple that Christ said He was going to build in three days wasn’t what they expected or wanted. They wanted it on this earth. That was not the plan. They wanted the royalty to be here. That was not the plan either. And that’s why it’s hard for us to comprehend that we are priests and kings. Because we live in red neck country. Not Jerusalem.

Just as Joshua was active in the building of the temple, Jesus was going to be the Master Builder of the Spiritual Temple that we call the church today.

Zechariah 6

13 Even he (The BRANCH) shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.

All for the Glory of God.

So what are the responsibilities of priests and kings?

I view it as one governs and the other guides.

So, what do we govern, and what do we guide on this earth.

1 Corinthians 12:27-28

27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

Not everyone is a prophet, teacher, etc. but everyone has a purpose. And every one of us are a part of the body of Christ if we’re saved. So we are overseeing the business of the Lord until His return. We are in charge of guiding others. We truly are a part of the Royal Family. And not the one in England, but the one in Heaven.

Zechariah 6

14 And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of the Lord. 15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.

There were earthly examples like Adam and Joshua that God put on earth as examples of Christ. We are to be the examples of the Lord set before the generation we’re now a part of.  We are the priests and kings of this generation, even if they don’t know it, or want it.

When someone is born into a royal family, only the head of that royal family can kick them out. God’s the head of this family, and He says that none shall be lost. (John 18:19)

That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.

So whether the world likes it or not, we are the royal family. The BRANCH’S government. Not a branch of the government. We will have our day of sitting with the royal family in person, but today we’re ambassadors in this foreign land.

So the question is, to who, where and how are you an ambassador? Pray and seek the Lord’s will for the land the Lord wants you to cover. And don’t ever think that He can’t take a kid from Calhoun County, and do something amazing for the Kingdom. Because you are children of the King.

Don’t forget …

Isaiah 62:3

Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.

Just Give Me Jesus

He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

Job 13:16

It’s not that I don’t feel like a hypocrite on a relatively regular basis. But for years I have felt like this was my message for the world. Not in judgement, but rather in tender compassion and pleading to the soul playing church on earth, and missing Heaven in eternity.

There’s a vast difference between being in church and being in Christ. But for too long the religious crowd has preached (and I use the term liberally) that all the world is fine, so long as they’re in the building.

Iglesia ni Cristo

When I visited the Philippines several years ago there was a huge church that was the size of a small West Virginia city. It had pointed steeples and ornate architecture that gave it a castle appearance, but not in a good way. It just looked cold and evil. It was the Iglesia ni Cristo (meaning Church of Christ) but not as the American Church of Christ. They believe that they are the one and only true church called out of Isaiah 43:5. It’s a very formalized methodical religion. All who are not a part of their church are Hell bound. according to them. That doesn’t sound any crazier to me than those who preach what many churches are preaching today, which is just show up occasionally, continue living in sin throughout the week, and you’re fine. It causes me to wonder if even the Pastors are saved who preach a message that is anti-relational with Christ.

I can’t help but think that my message today will be viewed as judgmental. But I promise it’s not. My heart breaks for church leadership as well who don’t have a deep enough relationship with Christ to understand its importance and their purpose. They’ve been deceived by this world too.

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is my friend Chuck McDonald’s life verse. Because when he got saved, he became a new creation. And anyone who knew him, seen the evidence in his life. That’s the key, and it’s the missing piece of many people in our own churches. Evidence. They walk out the door on Sunday morning and walk back into the world looking no different. There’s no evidence that church made a difference.

It’s not that the message doesn’t go out of many churches, because it does. There are many, many good preachers. So what makes the difference? Church leadership.

It’s not just the Pastor’s job. What made the difference in my friend Chuck McDonald’s life, and in my life is that there were people who stepped up and took me under their arm as a disciple of Christ. I keep saying it, but I’m not living it any better if I’m honest.

My formative years as a new Christian were spent in fellowship almost every day with people from our church. We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, we spoke on the phone, we were in constant church services of some sort, somewhere. It was amazing! If our church wasn’t holding a revival I was looking for someone else’s.

Does it have to be that extreme? I don’t know. It worked for me. And it worked in the days of the Bible.

Acts 2

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Steadfast, in doctrine, in fellowship, breaking bread and praying! Glory to God if only we had that kind of time.

Well, in this modern day of technology, do we not? We can be across the globe, and still be in constant fellowship, and yet we don’t.

I joyously speak with my friend Dewey Moede from New Mexico most every day. He is who God sent into my life to follow up where others left off. You too are that person who is in need of a Dewey, or perhaps you are the Dewey.

My point being is this; we should be living our lives, wherever we are for Christ. So that people know we’re there for them and that a relationship with Him and them is an important part of our everyday.

I’m not about what denomination is over the door, I’m about what your relationship is with my Lord. Are you truly a brother or sister in Christ?  

Only those who are will be Heaven.

Just give me Jesus.